Tips & Tricks for Carving a Turkey
Carving the bird can be one of the most intimidating parts of a Thanksgiving meal. I promise it’s not that hard. Here’s how I do it.
Resting the bird is really important—not just to maintain the moisture, but your hands will thank you for not carving up a flaming hot turkey. You can let yours sit out on the counter for up to an hour tented in foil. Really, it’s not going to get cold. While it’s resting, you can warm up all your other sides in the oven.
Slicing the bird should be the last thing you do before serving dinner. Before I start, I like to ditch the roasting pan and place the bird on a cutting board. You’ll be less likely to cut yourself or burn your hands.
Most important thing: make sure you have the right tools for the job. I love to use my kitchen sheers, a big kitchen fork and slicing knife. This classic carving set works really well (and makes for a great present).
Use the sheers to cut the skin that attaches the leg to the breast. This ensures the skin on the breast remains intact.
Next, use the kitchen sheers to cut in between the joint that attaches the leg to the thigh. Sheers are the perfect tool for this; so much easier than using a knife. Plus, if you use a knife, you’ll need to bend the thigh back which causes the meat to tear and I don’t want that. I just lift up that leg and cut straight across.
Next thing I like to do is cut the wings. I just lift up the bird a bit and cut straight across those joints.
At this point, it’s time to remove the whole breast, placing it on the cutting board for slicing. Some people like to take their thighs off first. On a bigger bird, I would do that. However, this is a smaller bird—about 8 pounds. I’m going to leave the thighs on because it’s easier for me to hold.
First, find the keel bone. Take your slicing knife and cut down on either side of that bone.
Next, spin the bird around and find the wishbone. Let your knife follow the contour of the wishbone to remove the breasts.
Place the breasts on the cutting board for slicing.
To remove the thighs, flip the bird over. Make a small incision and find the joints.
Cut around the entire joint to remove the thigh.
Now, carve out any oysters from the bottom. You’ll find one on the white side and one on the dark. It’s the best part of the turkey that no one knows about.
Set the carcass aside for making stock.
Our next job is to remove the bones from the dark meat, setting them aside for stock.
Then I take the dark meat, cut it in half and place it on my platter. Be sure to leave the pretty strip of skin on top. Everyone loves it!
On to the white meat. We all like it sliced, but make sure to not slice it paper thin. Try a 1/3-to-1/2 inches in thickness so your meat doesn’t dry out. Again, be sure to showcase that beautiful, crispy skin.
There you have it: The perfect turkey platter.
Any tips or tricks for carving your turkey? Tell us in the comments.
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